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The Legislature is in the final days of budget craziness, which means NJBIA Government Affairs is working around the clock on a variety of issues. Here is a quick rundown on a few environmental bills:

Permit Extension 2016

NJBIA was pleased to support legislation to extend permits in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy. A-3617 (Green/Rible), received unanimous support Monday in the Assembly Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a vote on Monday in the full Assembly. The Senate version, S-2390 (Sarlo/Kyrillos), will be voted upon Thursday in the Senate Budget Committee.

NJBIA applauded the release of A-3617, which would extend the period that developers may use previously approved building permits from state, regional, county and municipal agencies.

Under the bill, permits in the Counties of Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union could be extended due to impacts from Superstorm Sandy. This legislation would change the permit extension deadline to December 31, 2016.

Environmental Infrastructure Trust

On Thursday, the Assembly Budget Committee will consider several bills to provide funding for environmental infrastructure projects. NJBIA has supported efforts related to the Environmental Infrastructure Trust.

Flood Hazard Rules

Legislation to prohibit adoption of DEP’s proposed rules and regulations to revise its Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, Coastal Zone Management Rules, and Stormwater Management Rules has passed the Assembly and is awaiting action in the Senate. NJBIA testified twice this month against the Senate Resolution.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed changes that were in the Register this week. They comprise amendments and new rules to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7 and Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7A. These changes fall into the following six categories: improvements to riparian zone protections; improving consistency of the FHACA Rules with the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) and National Flood Insurance Program; improving consistency between the FHACA Rules and CZM Rules; facilitation of environmentally beneficial activities; clarification that permits-by-rule, general permits-by-certification, and general permits may not be used for activities qualifying as “major development;” and changes regarding the fees associated with the review of stormwater calculations.

A public hearing concerning the proposal is scheduled. The public hearing, as indicated in a notice of rescheduling of public hearing to be published in the July 5, 2016 New Jersey Register, is scheduled for Friday, July 22, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. NJ Department of Environmental Protection Public Hearing Room.

The department will accept comments until August 19, 2016.

Other items of interest:

Workplace Charging Grants

It Pay$ to Plug In provides grants to employers to offset the cost of purchasing and installing electric vehicle charging stations. This program is designed to encourage employees to purchase and drive electric vehicles to work. The availability of workplace charging stations can be a driving factor in encouraging car shoppers to purchase electric vehicles. Workplace charging helps alleviate range anxiety and gives employees additional driving flexibility.

NJDEP and BPU are excited to announce the availability of funding to install charging stations for electric vehicles at workplaces.  Applications and more information can be found on the new website at www.DriveGreen.nj.gov/programs.html

Drinking Water Quality Institute

The next Drinking Water Quality Institute meeting is scheduled for June 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm at the USGS NJ Water Science Center. The agenda can be found here http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/pdf/agenda.pdf

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